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back to article No pain, some gain: Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot examined

Ubuntu 11.10, just released as its first beta differs only slightly in its looks from its 11.04 predecessor – a fact that will be welcome news to penguins still reeling from that earlier version's grand re-boot. That earlier release shed GNOME 2.x, ignored GNOME 3.0 and set its brand-new Unity interface as the default. …

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Ru
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Linux

Who cares about unity?

Just grab a copy of Xubuntu, or Lubuntu or whatever other letter of the alphabet and desktop environment strikes your fancy. All the benefits of Ubuntu (if you care about such things) with none of the silly tablet fetish.

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Stay where you are!

There's an option on the login screen which allows you to select different keyboards, languages and desktops (including classic and safe boot IIRC).

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Unhappy

Oh Ubuntu why do you hate me so?

I want to like Ubuntu I really do but it just does not like me.

My PC back home is still essentially missing an entire drive since upgrading Ubuntu from 10 to 11 has left me looking at a command line, turns out there are no compatible ATi drivers that support Unity or they just don't like my card (4890).

So from your review I guess the backup limited gnome2 (think windows safe mode) has now been removed which was my last hope to obtain working drivers. I can't even remove Ubuntu from the drive since from previous experience I know that will remove GRUB as well leaving my system unbootable

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Bronze badge
Linux

Use an earlier live disc to reinstall grub2

Boot off a live disc, back up your data, nuke the partition and install Debian (I went for stable because I'm boring, but you could go for Testing).

Alternatively google how to reinstall Grub 2 from a live disc and just put the LTS on until they sort out the drivers.

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Happy

thank you

Appreciate the advice but both my optical drives (or rather my IDE controller) packed in a few months back so will need to use a USB solution if any exist.

It's not a priority anyhow as it's back home on the other side of the country and no longer in regular use by me, it's just not fair having to talk to family members using the PC on how to reboot from the command line since a hard reset ends up disabling the USB devices (keyboard included) causing GRUB to keep selecting Ubuntu

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Boot from USB

YOu should be able to boot from USB. There's probably an option in BIOS if it doesn't already do it automatically.

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Mobile phone

Dear Ubuntu, thanks for turning my £700 laptop into a £100 mobile phone.

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Linux

Here's an idea...

...like...you know...turn it back into a laptop again...erm...for free. It's trivial and if you partitioned your hard drive with a separate slice for /home it's even more trivial.

Surely that's one of the main reasons we love Linux and FOSS: we are free to pick and choose the bits we like and don't like and it's pretty straightforward to do so these days. Don't like Unity? Try Fedora. Don't like Gnome 3? Try Mint or Debian or the still excellent Umbongo 10.04 LTS. Don't like all the extra software? Xubuntu or Lupu or...so many to choose from!

Canonical have done good things for Linux but they are not Linux by a long stretch. Pick the bits they do well and spend the rest of your time finding other cool stuff to work with it rather than moaning about it. Linux: ROCK ON! :-)

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You're missing the point

The whole point is that Ubuntu is supposed to be a simple one-stop solution for those who don't have time to faff about like that.

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Holmes

Turn it back into a desktop…

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

or

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

Pretty sure one of those will suffice. Unless they've changed something…

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Stop

I quite agree....

It would be nice if it just installed and worked, which is why when I tried it on my Samsung N510 netbook and found the Wireless LAN did not work, I found it dissappointing and frustrating. Reading articles from people who proposed fixes to this problem, that involved extracting logs, deprecating installed drivers, messing about on the command line and writing to Realtek to get an unpublished device driver that they allegedly hold in their software vaults, caused me to just let my netbook just boot back into Windows 7, which worked out of the box, with all hardware functional.

If there is a desire for Ubuntu and Unity to be used by people as a genuine alternative to Windows, then it needs to work on common hardware, out of the box. Joe Public does not want to have to mess about with command line switches and writing to hardware vendors to get unpublished drivers, just in order to get their netbook in a functional state.

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Surprising

If 'Joe Public' is perfectly satisfied with Windows why is he posting here about his failed attempts to use Ubuntu?

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Linux

Joe Public does not want...

...to download and install his OS himself. Windows or Linux.

If you don't run with what your PC came with, you aren't really a typical end-user.

Are there any PC makers left that ship machines with Linux pre-installed? If so, I expect them to make sure any needed tweaks to get the HW up and running have already been performed.

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@gafisher

I love Indian food. It does not mean I want to eat Indian food for every meal. I like to vary my experiences and try different things.

I know it is an alien concept to some people that you might like to try out different OS experiences to see if they are an improvement (or otherwise), but I am one of those radicals that is an OS agnostic. I will try anything and everything that might be an interesting and useful addition to my user experience. Ubuntu lacking a driver for a popular brand of netbook that uses a widely used LAN chipset, does not make for a helpful user experience, especially when there is no easy way for the layman to get and install the driver.

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Thumb Up

An excellent and measured response

I was going to be much more rude to gafisher.

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Trollface

Pre-Installed or From Scratch

Mind you, if you install Windows from scratch, a lot of stuff won't work unless you've got the drivers. If you have bought a machine with *any* OS pre-installed it will ( or should) work out-of-the-box.

Pre-Installed Win7 versus user-installed Linux is an Bananas v. Oranges comparison.

At least with GNU/Linux the drivers can nearly always be got from a reputable source, i.e. a site that is unlikely to host malware/adware & isn't going to demand money, etc. You can't always say that for Windows - a driver search can often throw up a lot of shite & pay sites.

Try installing Windows 7 on an IBM S/390 or one of many machines with an M68000 CPU or loads of other architectures - won't get very far will you...

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Happy

@ Mr/Ms Carpet

...Actually, no.

As I do this for a living, I can safely say that Windows (Vista & 7, not so much XP though that ain't bad either) likes well over 95% of modern hardware when installed from scratch. For the odd wireless card or ethernet port left out in the cold, there's the manufacturers' site. I wouldn't exactly call the likes of Dell, Tosh, HP, et al "shite & pay sites". Tends to be plebs who go looking for drivers on those.

Granted, if a driver won't install, and you can't identify the hardware, a novice is pretty much boned - but there's still no need to visit virus-ridden websites. Bring up the Properties page for the offending article in Device Manager, then scroll to Hardware IDs on the Details tab & Google for the string you find therein (e.g. VEN_10EC&DEV_8168&SUBSYS_81AA1043&REV_01). Thence off to the manufacturer's website armed with the make & model.

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FAIL

Ummm, no

Ubuntu is supposed to be a simple one stop distro for noobs who don't know crap about Linux and need their hand held. Its the halfway house between Windows Vista and software freedom. If you've been using it long enough to complain about the changes, then you've been using it long enough to know how to make changes to it. Hence, you have no right or reason to bitch, except to show your own ineptitude and laziness.

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FAIL

Dream world

Just something for your to consider. Windows doesn't generally "just work" out of the box. What you're experiencing is a customized recovery of your original installation that has been tweaked and optimized for your particular machine by the OEM.

If you were to try to install Windows 7 from a disk (using USB DVD reader, ofc) you'd find that very few of the drivers are present "out of the box" and your experience in setting it up could range from the nice and easy, whereby Windows connects to the net and downloads the majority of your drivers for you, or as in some cases, you boot up without any network drivers at all. At which point your only option is to download them on another machine (if you can find them) and move them to your netbook via usb drive.

Your smugness over your Windows installation is ill conceived and foolhardy, and I HIGHLY recommend backing up your recovery partition post haste, lest you wish to PURCHASE another copy of Windows in the event of a harddrive failure, AND have to deal with the task of setting up all the drivers that do not come with a default installation CD.

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FAIL

You're not the only tech in the room

I too do this for a living, and from my own viewpoint, Ubuntu wins hands down on driver installation. And usually, if there is a completely unavailable driver, its not the fault of Linux, but rather the fault of a manufacturer who does not wish to play nice with the Linux community.

This is a result of MS playing dirty pool and using blockade tactics and backroom deals to try and diminish competitors.

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Linux

Title

The message of 11.10 seems pretty clear: Unity is here and you're either going to love it or leave it.

And that is a shame, I tried unity for a while and I hated it.

I'll have to look into XFCE next and see if I can configure that to my liking.

Do you guys have any desktop suggestions?

Thanks

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XFCE

Try it, its now Linus's desktop of choice.

It's good, lightweight and reliable.

Recommended.

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lubuntu

I use it on a VERY old laptop, and it's brilliant. I read somewhere that LXDE is less resource-hungry than XFCE, and my experience with both bears that out. Give Lubuntu a go, especially if you want to rescue an old bit of tin.

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Not that I care what Linus uses...

but yeah, thumbs up for XFCE.

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Also

give LXDE a shot. Its extremely lightweight.

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Anonymous Coward

"Scopes" and "Lenses"...

instead of "Places"? Sounds cute and geeky but lurches squarelyy away from the whole Ubuntu "Linux desktop for the masses" thing.

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Unhappy

Cheers and all the best!

"It's also worth noting that, with 11.10, Synaptic has officially been shown the door and is no longer installed by default."

I see where it's going and I'm afraid I may have to bid later Ubuntu farewell if it travels much farther down this route. It's been a great ride, v10.10 being the pinnacle. I've learned a lot but I like the ability to tinker and tweak without minial risk of damage but when someone in an office thousands of miles away decides they think they know what's best for my "user experience", I have to consider parting ways.

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"Leave it" - yep

I'm happily running Fedora and XFCE here. Still have 10.10 on my netbook... that was a surprisingly good release after the disaster of 10.04 LTS.

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Unity and other changes

I quite like Unity. Having been running one laptop with 10.10 and one with 11.04/11.10 for a few weeks, I've been able to compare them side by side and I don't think I will miss the old desktop. Yes, Unity still has a few rough edges but it's getting there. What I really like about Unity are the keyboard shortcuts. When it comes to the applications I use all the time, I just add them to the launcher and I can start them through a simple key combo, quicker than what I could do with the old Gnome 2.x desktop. I know that you could customise the desktop to your heart content but making things easier out of the box is good. The only thing missing (or that I haven't found yet) is the ability to re-order the items in the launcher.

I haven't extensively tried out the lenses in the new dash but first impression is that it should enable me to find stuff a lot quicker than the old file system would.

Among other changes, I've noted a couple of interesting things when going through the system settings:

There is a new "online accounts" setting where you can define online services a la webOS; it only has Google so far and it doesn't seem to do anything useful but anybody who has used a webOS device will see where that is going;

There is a new colour profile setting where you can add colour profiles for your peripherals such as webcams and printers: that's probably the first step to a full colour managed desktop, which will be great for anybody working in photography.

Other points to note is that Firefox 7.0 is lightning fast to start and Thunderbird is so much more responsive than Evolution, it makes a real difference. I'm also running the x64 version, which so far seems to be just as stable as the x86 version.

Generally a good stable release compared to 11.04. And as the next one will be an LTS, I would expect the trend to continue. At the end of the day, I think Ubuntu did the right thing in bringing Unity in 11.04. It felt a bit premature at the time but it's only once you have real users that you can start getting real bugs fixed so releasing Unity two cycles prior to the next LTS was the right way to iron out bugs out in time for 12.04.

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@Bruno

"At the end of the day, I think Ubuntu did the right thing in bringing Unity in 11.04. It felt a bit premature at the time but it's only once you have real users that you can start getting real bugs fixed"

No. It wasn't premature - it was completely useless and *any* testing by one or two people would have shown that. It didn't need thousands of testers - just a couple.

It's great that you like Unity. I'm sure there are plenty of others who do too.

There are also a whole heap of others - like myself - who have already left or are using alternatives because of this very issue.

Thanks Ubuntu, but no thanks.

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Completely useless?

Rubbish. I've been using it no problem since 11.04. Don't even see the performance issues hinted at by the article.

Yes, there are rough edges, but useless? No.

You've fallen in to the trap that anything YOU don't like, is automatically useless to everyone else.

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Thumb Down

No thanks

I mainly use a 24" widescreen monitor, why on earth would I want something that would be more at home on a 5" smartphone? The size of the icons would be huge and I see no benefit to stuffing everything into a bar on the side of the screen. Canonical must be having a laugh with this name "Oneiric Ocelot" more like " Onanistic Ocelot" to my mind.

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nope

Totally disagree, I have a widescreen monitor and like unity because the launch bar is in the right place by default rather than taking up the more valuable real estate at the top or bottom of the screen.

If your using the OS to do any proper work; what you actually want is for it to get the hell out of the way. Unity does a great job of maximising your work area by removing 20 pixels of clutter at the bottom of the screen and 15(ish) pixels of menu bar at the top, to that end i can totally forgive them some slightly chunkier buttons over on the right

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Headless chickens

... or monkeys with typewriters come to mind! This is going nowhere.

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

I use Kubuntu now, since KDE is reasonably stable, although a distro that treats KDE as mainstream rather than a sideshow might replace it shortly.

Both Gnome and Ubuntu have jumped the shark.

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Linux

KDE

I have tried to like Ubuntu, I really did (especially since Mark grew up about 2km from me), but alas. I have never been able to come to grips with Gnome, having cut my teeth on KDE. Kubuntu was even worse, as far as I am concerned. I have tried a number of distro's over the years (Red Hat, Fedora, SUSE, Mint, et cetera) but still find Mandriva the best. I started with Mandrake 7 (I think) and am currently on 2010.2 Spring.

As soon as I can get hold of a DVD I will try Mageia (tried to download it, but speed is an issue and finally gave up after about 50 hours), but I never really had issues with Mandriva, except for 2009, when they switched over to KDE 4).

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I'm not Unity's biggest fan

But I don't dislike it enough to bother logging in under Gnome 2.x instead.

It's OK. It works enough that I can do the things I need to do (ie, load a terminal and a web browser.) If I really cared, I'd install something else, but I don't. It's really not a big deal. My laptop has Linux Mint Debian + Gnome Classic on it these days, but that's more to do with a network driver regression that arrived in Natty than anything else.

Lots of my non-techie friends I've upgraded from Windows absolutely love Unity though, and I'm sure a more polished version will go down even better. The ungeek is who Ubuntu are aiming at, and that's a good thing - there's a lot more of those people than there are of "us."

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FAIL

Focus follows mouse?

I tried Unity for nearly five minutes when it came out on Natty, before discovering that it's utterly hostile to focus-follows-mouse, which I've been using for over 15 years now. At which point I gave up and never looked at it again.

Does Oneiric support focus-follows-mouse at all (although I can't imagine how with the disconnected menu bars)?

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Bronze badge

Agreed!

I'm glad someone mentioned it. Seeing as the the thread on the Ubuntu Forums complaining about it hasn't had a posting since April, I doubt it's fixed. But there do seem to be ways of getting round it (F10 or disabling the "global menu"):

http://askubuntu.com/questions/10481/does-unity-support-disabling-the-global-application-menu

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Pint

Is it just me?

Or is anyone else wondering why no-one has called it "Onanistic Ocelot" yet? Other than that, I think I might actually try it out and see what it's actually like before declaring my undying hatred for it, or using it.

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Bah.

This is all a bit of a shame. I guess it's good to try innovating, but no that'll be the end of my Ubuntu experience, 10.10 is the best one. Time to see if Mandriva still exists...

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Stop

Don't bother

Mandriva has started down the same road as Ubutu, something to do with an outfit called Rosa Labs I think. Nope, for the real Mandriva experience you now have to go to Mageia. I've taken a look and it seems fine to me, just like Mandriva used to be in fact. That's the one to look at.

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Linux

10.10

It's where I'm staying for the foreseeable future. I like Ubuntu, but I really despise Unity.

I might pop Gnome on it to eek some extra life out of new releases, but that does seem like an awful lot of faffing around to get something that I could get elsewhere.

I think this kind of change makes much sense, I can see Ubuntu losing quite a bit of share over Unity. Whilst they've made it easier to use (allegedly), geeks are what help it get out into the wild... the same method that got Firefox plenty of market share.

On the nose for a new distro.. LinuxMint looke interesting up until it decided it couldn't work properly on a VM and kept crashing the installer.

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11.04 then

It's a simple matter of telling it to use Ubuntu Classic at the login screen or in System Settings to avoid Unity in 11.04. No faffing around at all.

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Linux

If you liked the derivative

why not try the original? I tried them all some years ago, but settled on Debian Testing (there's unstable(Sid) that Ubuntu et al are based on as well).

I'm always amazed at the cavalier way Ubuntu seem to release named versions that have major flaws - I've always felt that Debian cared about their users more than that. Strange, really, that Ubuntu is supposedly aimed at less techie users, when it seems that some releases have bugs that need some expertise to fix.

The reputation Debian seems to have for being difficult to install is unfounded(there's a graphical installer), & once installed the stable version will be rock-solid - if reliability is what you want Debian stable (Squeeze currently) will do it.

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Unity

I put Ubuntu 11.04 on an old laptop. Used Unity for 15 minutes, and then put gnome 2 on it.

BTW, I was able to surf the web all day with firefox 6 with no problems, even though it only had 1.25GB of memory.

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Anonymous Coward

I've seen it and ...

... although I LOATHED 11.04 -- I tried -- I really, really did. But hated it, however ...

11.10 is a much better, more finished and rounded interface and is more like what should have been delivered in 11.04. I can respect what Canonical is trying to do. It isn't for everyone but I found myself quite liking it, in spite of myself, and some of the find and navigation extras are fun.

Maybe by the time its finished and released it may be a more acceptable proposition. Still, it won' t be for everyone and the lack of a means of easily stepping back is outrageous. The removal of tools like Synaptic is annoying but it can be installed again very easily and it is kind of essential no matter how good the software center is (it looks very good from what I saw of it I have to say).

I'll be giving it a spin. It deserves at least that. But If it still gives me the experience 11.04 did however, it won't be staying long.

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Meh

I plan to stay on 10.10...

Ubuntu 10.10 does everything i need right now. Only if i change my machine i would consider to change the OS. I usually lag behind 2 releases to make sure all mayor pains are already purged out and forums are filled with solutions to the minor tweaks.

You can always change Ubuntu, or any other distro of Linux to your liking. I don't care if synaptic is faced out of the main install, i will install it anyway. They can default anything they like as long as they don't PREVENT later customization. That is what makes Linux so superior to Mac or Windows (there are like dozens of reasons buts that's the one that fits this discussion :P)

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Anonymous Coward

You can't stay on 10.10 forever...

... because security updates for non-LTS versions are only provided for 18 months after the date of initial release (i.e. not after April 2012).

Better to convert your ubuntu to xubuntu; see for example

http://serverfault.com/questions/54463/convert-ubuntu-to-xubuntu

Then you can go 10.10 -> 11.04 -> 11.10 -> 12.04, and because 12.04 will be an LTS release, you can stick there for 3 more years.

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Releases

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remember the ppa

If there are good gnome ppa (I like gnome 3 shell) I'll stick around, otherwise I'm off to Mint Linux.

The ubuntu+gnome strategy seems to be:

1. replace a nearly-done app with a much less done app.

* gthumb get's replaced with eog which can't print more than one photo to a page

* rhythmbox get's replaced with banshee

* beagle get's replaced with tracker

* gnome 3 shell get's replaced with unity

and so one...

Bug reports languish and then get closed because no-one has responded to the report in the time-frame. The bug lifecycle for printers is twice as long as I keep a printer for!

I like ubuntu but they don't like me, and there is no way to pay them any money as I'm not corporate enough to be worth bothering with.

so... thanks for all the fish

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